Mystery surrounds a meeting between an education minister and a furniture company over potential academy sponsorship, especially as the retailer has refused to confirm whether it even took place.
According to the Department for Education’s latest register of ministerial gifts, hospitality, travel and meetings, representatives from Dunelm met with Lord John Nash (pictured), the former academies minister, in June this year.
According to the document, the meeting was to “discuss potential academy sponsorship”.
However even though it was clearly noted in official government papers, Dunelm said it is “unable to confirm” whether the meeting had even taken place.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to confirm that this meeting took place, and that we are looking into sponsoring academies,” a spokesperson for Dunelm told Schools Week.
When asked if that meant the meeting had not taken place, and that Dunelm was not considering academy sponsorship, the spokesperson said: “We’re unable to confirm whether this meeting did or did not take place.”
The company is also “also unable to confirm whether we are or are not looking into sponsoring academies”, the spokesperson said.
However, according to the DfE, “there are no plans for Dunelm to sponsor any academies”.
Lord Nash stood down from his ministerial post last month, and was replaced by Sir Theodore Agnew, the founder of the Inspiration Trust.